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Bangladesh to execute leading Islamist

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court endorsed the verdict for Motiur Rahman Nizami, who was found guilty in 2014 over charges of murder, rape and orchestrating the killing of top intellectuals during Bangladesh’s war of independence with Pakistan in 1971.

The court upheld capital penalty for the party chief on three charges and life imprisonment on two charges.

Nizami could be hanged within months unless the Supreme Court reviews his case again, or he is granted clemency by the president.

Four opposition politicians, including three leaders of the Islamist party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, have been convicted by a war crimes tribunal and executed since late 2013.

Bangladeshi Supreme Court has dismissed appeal by head of Jamaat-e-Islami party, Motiur Rahman Nizami.

Prosecutors said Nizami was the leader of a student wing of Jamaat during the war and turned it into the Al-Badr pro-Pakistani militia, which killed top professors, writers, doctors and journalists in the most gruesome chapter of the conflict.

Previous verdicts against Jamaat leaders have led to violent clashes between Islamists and security forces, leading to some 500 deaths. Defence lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain told reporters that they would decide their next course of action after consulting with him.

“Following the SC verdict, it has been established that Nizami was involved in the killing of intellectuals and professions”, the attorney general said.

A war crimes tribunal – looking into abuses during the war – was set up in 2010, but critics have accused the government of using it to target political opponents.

Nizami was indicted in 2012 with 16 charges of crimes against humanity, including looting, mass killings, arson, rape and forcefully converting people to Muslims during the 1971 war. Independent researchers contest the government’s high figures.

Domestic support for the trials is strong despite worldwide concerns over the fairness of the trials.

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